Liberty Steel Group UK (LSUK) will be boosting production at its Rotherham, UK, facilities to over 1Mt/yr through investments to expand product mix and make more productive use of its rolling mills.

The company has already made big investments at its Rotherham site, acquired early 2018, when production hovered around 250kt/yr. Today, following the installation of a new electric arc furnace (EAF) and other upgrades, the plant has doubled capacity to 500kt/yr.

According to LSUK, UK market demand for reinforcement bar (rebar) amounts to around 1.2Mt annually. At present, half of this demand is met by imports, despite there being a surplus of scrap metal, recovered in the UK, which could now be recycled into new steel products.

“Given this gap in the market and further growth in construction expected from infrastructure projects such as HS2, LSUK is targeting this market by expanding its GREENSTEEL product range,” said LSUK.

LSUK is extending the product range of its Thrybergh Bar Mill in Rotherham to include the production of rebar from September 2020 and intends to produce wire rod to feed both engineering and construction markets. The aim is to supply UK-produced GREENSTEEL into domestic infrastructure projects vital to the revival of the UK’s post-pandemic economy.

Sanjeev Gupta, LSUK’s executive chairman, said that since the company acquired the business from Tata Steel it has made vital upgrades to the plant that have doubled production and returned the business to profitability. Unfortunately, Brexit impacted an already weak steel market in 2019 and this was been followed by COVID-19.

“As we make plans for a post-pandemic economy, we have challenged ourselves to think differently across our product mix, assets and cost base to improve competitiveness and prepare for a new future,” Gupta said, adding that with the new developments at the company’s Thrybergh Bar Mill, business is well-prepared to win a greater share of the UK construction market with its GREENSTEEL rebar offering.

LSUK is continuing its turnaround plans at its Stocksbridge site, which produces high value steels, while in Hartlepool it is working through its ‘best order book position in over six years’. The company’s Performance Steels business in West Bromwich has exceeded planned sales of specialist steel strip, while other LSUK businesses in Dalzell, Newport and Scunthorpe have continued to work safely through the pandemic meeting customer demand efficiently, according to the company.